A vision of the next generation of behavioral therapies research in the addictions*


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    Presented as the Society Lecture at the Society for the Study of Addictions Annual Symposium, 17 November 2005.

Kathleen M. Carroll, Division of Substance Abuse, Yale University School of Medicine, 950 Campbell Avenue (151D), West Haven, CT 06516, USA. E-mail: kathleen.carroll@yale.edu


Whither, or wither, empirically supported therapies? Increasingly rigorous research in behavioral therapies has yielded a large number of effective therapies, but comparatively little work, demonstrating that integrating empirically supported therapies (ESTs) into standard practice results in meaningful improvements in patient outcomes. Methodology and strategies for evaluating ESTs and their effectiveness in clinical practice is a fairly recent innovation, and a host of unanswered questions remain regarding issues such as selection among different ESTs and what type of ESTs should be emphasized in dissemination efforts, what type of clinicians should be trained in what type of ESTs, the most effective training strategies for various types of clinicians, the need for ongoing supervision to maintain minimum levels of treatment fidelity and skill. In this review, we call for broader use of new research strategies and methods relevant to dissemination of ESTs; these may include adaptive designs, identification of mechanisms of action to foster greater emphasis on effective change principles, training and adoption trials, as well as novel implementation strategies including computer-assisted therapy and computer-assisted training.